Junior Kim Bruins stepped up to the plate. In front of her was the Iowa State defense and three of her teammates on base. On a perfect 2-2 pitch, the Longhorn’s starting pitcher knocked the ball out of the park in the first grand slam of her career.
“I have never hit a grand slam before in my life, so today was definitely my best overall game,” Bruins said.
“These past few years, I have had nagging injuries so I have not been able to pitch as well. Now that I’m healthy, I’m able to key on a lot of things and hit my spots.”
The No. 6 Longhorns completed a three game sweep of the Iowa State Cyclones Sunday afternoon with an 11-2 run rule victory on the road in Ames, Iowa.
The victories improved the Longhorns to 26-2 on the season and 5-0 in Big 12 Conference play. Texas started with an 8-4 victory Friday night and followed up a with a 7-3 victory Saturday afternoon. A strong offensive performance Sunday afternoon finished the weekend’s action.
Third baseman Nadia Taylor struck the first offensive blow against the Cyclones on Friday night. The senior went 2-for-3 that evening with a career-high four RBI with a home run. Senior second baseman Lexy Bennett, Texas’s top offense performer so far this season, went an impressive 4-for-5 in game one. Bennett, who also leads the Big 12 in several offensive categories, tied a career-high for number of hits in a single game with four.
“I think we just had a good competitive attack at the plate,” Texas head coach Connie Clark said. “The other thing that stood out was that they really took control of the tempo. They slowed the game down and made it their own.”
On Saturday afternoon, sophomore short stop Taylor Thom headlined the scoring frenzy along with junior Taylor Hoagland and Nadia Taylor. Thom went 3-for-4 in game two with a double and an RBI. Hoagland and Taylor, along with Bruins, each homered in the 7-3 contest.
Hoagland’s trip around the bases marked the 31st home run of her career, putting her third in the Texas record books. She needs just five more to tie former teammate Amy Hooks for first place.
“I try not to look at the stats,” Hoagland said. “I know I have been up and down this season. I don’t think it’s been anything fundamental-wise, it’s just confidence with me and helping my team any way I can.”
On Sunday, the Longhorns wasted no time in completing the sweep. The Cyclones went up 2-1 in the bottom of the first inning, but an eight run third inning performance, which included the grand slam by Bruins, all but secured the victory. The Texas defense only faced six batters in the last two innings before the run rule came into effect at the conclusion of the fifth inning.
Texas also held their own in the circle this weekend. Juniors Blaire Luna and Bruins, along with sophomore Rachel Fox, each pitched a complete game to shut down the Iowa State offense. The Cyclones didn’t give up easily, striking early against the Longhorns in game one and game three. However, a strong Texas defense prevented their opponents from gaining any real ground at the plate.
“Iowa State competes well, and we talked about that during the game,” Clark said. “I told them that [Iowa State] would finish strong ... [They] did a great job of adjusting their game plan, attacking spots better to give us a chance of success.”
Printed on Monday, March 26, 2012 as: Bruins hits grand slam in victory over Cyclones